Pavel Durov said that Telegram is already approaching 500 million active users and said that the project would begin monetizing next year. At the same time, he assured users that he would not sell the messenger, as, for example, the founders of WhatsApp did. Recall that there were rumors that Telegram was sold to Mail.ru back in August.
"Many of you are asking the question – who is going to pay to support this growth? After all, more users mean more expenses for traffic and servers. A project of our size needs at least a few hundred million dollars per year to keep going. For most of the Telegram's history, I paid for the expenses of the company from my personal savings. However, with its current growth, Telegram is on track to reach billions of users and requires appropriate funding. When a tech project reaches this scale, typically there are two options – start earning money to cover the costs, or sell the company," Durov wrote on his Telegram channel.
Pavel Durov promised that Telegram would exist for a very long time, but the service must start earning.
The founder of Telegram added that the messenger would remain true to its values and the pledges the Telegram team have made over the last seven years:
"Thanks to our current scale, we will be able to do it in a non-intrusive way. Most users will hardly notice any change."
Durov said that all current Telegram services would remain free, but the messenger will have additional functions for business teams and power users in the future. Some of these new functions will be resource-intensive, which means that they will become paid, but Telegram will always be free for a regular user.
Besides, all messenger services related to messaging will remain ad-free:
"We think that displaying ads in private 1-to-1 chats or group chats is a bad idea. Communication between people should be free of advertising of any sort."
However, the messenger's founder is sure that Telegram monetization should benefit the project administration and the entire community. For example, the owners of public channels monetizing through an advertising platform will receive free traffic in proportion to their size, and the authors of premium paid stickers will also receive a part of the profit.
"We want millions of Telegram-based creators and small businesses to thrive, enriching the experience of all our users. This is the Telegram way."